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Media: Ukrainians evacuated from Israel paid hundreds of euros for their own tickets

by Nate Ostiller October 16, 2023 4:11 PM 2 min read
A Palestinian man walks amid the rubble of buildings destroyed during Israeli air strikes in the Rafah refugee camp in the southern of Gaza Strip, on Oct. 16, 2023. (Mohammed Abed/AFP via Getty Images)
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One of the Ukrainians evacuated from Israel on flights organized by Ukraine's Embassy said she had to pay 415 euros ($437) for her ticket, RF/ERL's Ukrainian service reported on Oct. 16.

After the embassy arranged for flights out of Israel for Ukrainian citizens, the woman claimed that there was an accompanying message on the embassy's website saying the flights would be free of charge.

However, after she registered, she found out she would have to purchase her own ticket, which started at 399 euros ($420) per person. Without a better alternative, the woman purchased the tickets for herself and her children.

Yevhen Korniichuk, Ukraine's Ambassador to Israel, told the Hromadkse media outlet that he did not know how the woman got the idea that the tickets would be free. He claimed it was not written anywhere on the website.

Moreover, Korniichuk said there were no available funds in the budget to pay for the evacuation of all the Ukrainians who wanted to leave Israel.

"We really find an opportunity to finance the most vulnerable situations. But this is an exception to the rule," he added.

The embassy was able to negotiate with the airlines to find prices similar to those before Hamas' attack on Oct. 7. Without the embassy's help, Korniichuk said the tickets would likely cost more than $1,000 per person.

A one-way ticket on the low-cost airline WizzAir from Tel-Aviv to Bucharest, Romania, where the first evacuation flight landed, could typically cost as little as $20, according to the WizzAir website.

Ukrainians were not alone in their surprise at having to pay out-of-pocket for their evacuation from Israel. A report by NBC on Oct. 12 found that Americans would also have to compensate the government for the second leg of their flights home. Flights out of Israel, however, were apparently provided free of charge.

On Oct. 14, the first evacuation flight left Israel with 207 Ukrainians. On Oct. 16, another flight landed in the Romanian city of Cluj-Napoca with another 155 Ukrainians.

At the time of this publication, it is unclear how many more Ukrainians in Israel are trying to exit the country.

In addition, around 260 Ukrainian nationals are still located in Gaza and have not been able to evacuate from the besieged territory.

Although there were reports from Palestinian officials that the Rafah border crossing into Egypt would be available for foreigners to use, Israeli authorities denied it was open.

Ukrainians trapped in besieged Gaza: ‘We are constantly bombed’
Hundreds of Ukrainians have been caught in the crossfire inside the Gaza Strip after Hamas terrorist attacks on Oct. 7 prompted Israel to respond with a total blockade and intense bombardment of the small Palestinian enclave. Ukraine is now working to evacuate 243 Ukrainian citizens from Gaza, whic…

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